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In Effort To Prevent Egg Shortage, Lawmakers Agree To Animal Welfare Law Changes

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, DECEMBER 20, 2021 (State House News Service)  -- The House and Senate on Monday backed a compromise to overhaul a voter-approved animal welfare law as the lead Senate negotiator declared the delay of pork industry regulations is a one-time deal.

With the threat of egg and pork product shortages looming in the new year, the House and Senate both accepted a conference committee report (S 2603) changing key sections of a law voters approved in 2016 before it takes effect Jan. 1.

The measure could reach Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday after each branch takes additional procedural votes.

Both the House and Senate had previously agreed to changes to key components of the egg-laying hen section of the law to align it with changes in industry practices that have become common since 2016, but they were split over whether to postpone the start of a ban on the sale of pork products from cruelly confined pigs.

Sen. Jason Lewis said the trio of Senate conferees "very reluctantly agreed" to a seven-and-a-half month delay, down from the full year the House originally approved.

"I want the pork industry to know in no uncertain terms that there will be no further extensions for them in Massachusetts," Lewis said Monday from the Senate floor. "They must come into compliance with Massachusetts law, overwhelmingly approved by our voters back in 2016, if they wish to continue selling their products to our consumers."

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